Penang Accident Survivor Alleges That Van Stalled Before Crashing
Nine other travellers and the driver of the vehicle sustained injuries from the accident.
One of the survivors has since spoken up, claiming that the van stalled multiple times prior to the crash.
Penang accident survivor speaks up about crash
According to 8world News, 62-year-old Koh Sun Heng was one of the survivors of the accident which occurred on the night of 24 Sep.
Prior to the accident, the tourists who were fans of Malaysian singer Xie Wen Bao En had had dinner with him.
Speaking to Channel NewsAsia (CNA) in a live interview, Mr Koh said he was sitting near the driver and was aware of what happened at the time of the incident.
He said that the restaurant they were having dinner at was in a hilly area and lightning had begun to flash. Fearing the possibly stormy weather conditions, they decided to return to their hotel.
When the driver attempted to start the van, though, it kept stalling.
“[The van] moved a little bit and then stalled again,” he said, adding that it happened several times.
Van abruptly speeds up after stalling
After the driver eventually got the van running, it suddenly sped up and almost crashed into the roadside when turning.
The passengers began shouting at him, at which point he was able to regain control of the van. However, the vehicle was now on a slope at this point.
This made it difficult for the driver to control it, Mr Koh said. He repeatedly pressed the accelerator and made sharp turns, almost crashing before heading straight for the ravine.
The driver then allegedly said, “Oops!” which caused Mr Koh to realise that something was about to go wrong.
“I knew the driver had lost control, so I quickly hugged the back of the driver’s chair. I shouted… hold tight,” he said, adding that the vehicle proceeded to plunge into the ravine.
Penang accident survivor suffers injuries from crash
During the interview, Mr Koh had visible injuries.
His right hand was wrapped in a bandage while scratches were evident on his left one. He also revealed that there was swelling in his left knee and abrasions on his right foot.
In the aftermath of the accident, one of the van’s seats had apparently pinned his right hand, resulting in an open wound. Fortunately, he did not suffer any fractures.
As Mr Koh was near a window, he was able to climb out to seek help. He initially saw a motorcyclist he thought he could approach for assistance, but the rider did not see them and drove off.
The survivors in the van also kept complaining of the heat and were out of breath, so they had to open the windows.
Mr Koh added that he wanted to help his wife, who had been sitting in front of him, out of her seat. However, he allegedly suffered an electric shock when he touched her.
“I took a look and saw that she was holding two wires,” he said. He then shouted to warn the other passengers before taking out his mobile phone to turn on the flashlight.
Tourists travelled downhill in 2 separate vehicles
Speaking on the same live broadcast, Xie said that the tourists he had dinner with split up into two different vehicles.
The one involved in the crash went down the hill first while Xie drove in a separate car.
He explained that as they were aware of the hilly area being dangerous, they decided to hurry down before it got dark.
“It didn’t rain at that time and the road wasn’t slippery,” he said. “I didn’t expect that the first car would roll down the mountain after only two minutes of driving.”
Xie shared that he was driving very slowly and did not manage to see the vehicle.
“When I got down the mountain and halfway out of the road, they called and said that they had been in a car accident, so we quickly turned back to the mountain,” he said.
Xie took a motorcycle to look for the survivors, with a Singaporean and a firefighter in the area named Poh also searching for them.
When asked if he would visit Penang again, Mr Koh said it was his first time and that he would never dare to visit again.
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